On 31 October 2020, the Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru organised a discussion on Preamble to the Indian Constitution for youth, students, teachers, heads of NGOs, CSOs, and religious minorities. The session was presided by Hon’ble Justice Kurian Joseph, Retd. Judge of the Supreme Court of India.
Justice Kurian began his address by highlighting the relevance of the Preamble, by directing the focus to the fundamental rights and duties that are enshrined in the Constitution. He very well explained the highly significant role of the ‘guardian’ of the Constitution, the Judiciary, and how its dwindling stand has been affecting the citizens. With the phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, Justice Kurian emphasized the role of constitutional values, such as Justice, Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity that are primary to the inclusive nature of our nation, respecting diversity and plurality of the cultures, religions and languages.
During the course of the session, Justice Kurian acknowledged the ‘swinging’ scenario of
Indian democracy as a saddening and highly unfortunate reality. In one of the responses of the queries posed by the virtual audience, he made a clear statement that sought to increase the accountability of the Parliamentarians and strengthen the grass root level democratic institutions, like Panchayats and Wards.
Considering the ‘commodification’ of women in Indian society, he elucidated on the broad
concept of women’s safety. Speaking of human dignity, he clearly made it a point that the society should, as well accept and acknowledge women’s rights and resistance, and not view the increasing resistance as a predicament but as a part of the space and voice that democracy bestows as a value. He also said, “The mindset of the men must change”.
While responding to the many queries that were focussed around growing ‘fear’ and shrinking space of dissent, Justice Kurian very well elaborated on the role of the Judiciary that has to be unbiased and unfavouring, upholding Constitutional morality and conscience, transcending conscience of the individuals. While mentioning the kind of cases that the apex court has been handling during the pandemic-induced lockdown, he pointed out the very strong stand and the lens of equal treatment that has to be upheld by the same.
The session, for the duration of an hour and a half, was attended virtually by approximately 400 persons, both on Zoom and YouTube.